A woman picks up flowers from a garden center in Long Beach, California. Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak has driven a surge in cooking, baking and gardening across the United States, as most Americans are mandated to remain at home except to get essentials.

The big picture: The renewed interest in food and cooking during the pandemic may extend beyond the need to eat. Daily creative projects can help reduce stress and promote well-being, according to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

  • 90% of Americans are concerned about the coronavirus, according to an Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
  • 37% of Americans surveyed said their emotional health had declined as of mid-April.

The state of play: Baking yeast sales surged by 647% for the week ending March 21, according to market research firm Nielsen, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • King Arthur Flour’s website had sold out of yeast and a number of flours by the end of March, but planned to restock within days, the company said. And March was the company's busiest social messaging month, it told the Washington Post. The company received 22,000 messages in the first three months of 2020, more than double the messages it had received in all of 2019.
  • Seed companies have also reported significant sales spikes as consumers turn to gardening, according to Politico.

Flashback: The number of households that grew their own food blossomed from 36 million to 42 million between 2008 and 2013, largely because of economic uncertainty triggered by the Great Recession, according to a National Gardening Association report.

Go deeper: Virus vices take a toll on Americans

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Downtown Chicago hit by widespread looting

Police officers inspect a damaged Best Buy in Chicago that was looted and vandalized. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago police responded to hundreds of people looting stores and causing widespread property damage in the city's downtown overnight, resulting in at least one exchange of gunfire, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The state of play: Police superintendent David Brown said the event was a coordinated response after an officer shot a suspect on Sunday evening, per CBS Chicago.

McDonald's sues former CEO, alleging he lied about relationships with employees

Former McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

McDonald's on Monday sued its former CEO Steve Easterbrook, seeking to recoup tens of millions in severance benefits while alleging he took part in and concealed undisclosed relationships with company employees, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: Corporations have traditionally chosen to ignore executive misbehavior to avoid bad press, but they have become more proactive — especially with the rise of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements — in addressing issues head-on.

The transformation of the Fed

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve is undergoing an overhaul. Conceived to keep inflation in check and oversee the country's money supply, the central bank is now essentially directing the economy and moving away from worries about rising prices.

What we're hearing: The move to act less quickly and forcefully to tamp down on inflation has been in the works for years, but some economists fear that the Fed is moving too far from its original mandate.